South Africa is renowned for being a country that is mad on sport, so it is no surprise that some of the finest sports facilities exist in this country, and once again the flooring industry is providing a wide variety of innovative products and systems to this sector.
This enables the extensive flooring requirements of sports halls, gymnasiums, fitness centres and training facilities to be adequately catered for, not to mention the increasing use of simulated grass “carpets” in applications such as school sports fields, training grounds and others.
One of the most exceptional sports facilities in South Africa is to be found at the University of Pretoria. The High Performance Centre at the University of Pretoria is Southern Africa’s first elite one-stop sports facility.
Launched in May 2002, the centre is the training ground for tomorrow’s sporting champions and the venue of choice for sports professionals and enthusiasts alike. From training facilities to medical services, accommodation and food, the HPC offers everyone the opportunity to enjoy its awe-inspiring environment.
The centre is situated on the University of Pretoria’s sports grounds and offers 76 hectares of sports-dedicated land. The HPC is endorsed by the University’s Institute of Sports Research and enjoys the very best in state-of-the-art technology and expertise. The centre manages the intellectual development of sports-science-based practices, sporting infrastructure and facilities, sports events and sport-inspired hospitality services.
The role of the HPC can be divided into two interrelated parts: the TuksSport Academies, and to provide a venue for high-profile international and local athletes and teams for pre-season or pre-event training.
In general, the main requirement for sports floors in indoor applications is in providing shock absorption and reduction of fatigue, reduced noise levels where possible, consistent ball bounce, high wear, abrasion and impact resistance, a minimum maintenance and cleaning requirement and colour/line marking retention.
Depending on each individual application, this has given rise to the provision of such varied products and systems as seamless polyurethane flooring, sprung timber floors or “resilient” wood floors which use the selected hardwood in combination with an under-surface sandwich construction such as a combination of polyurethane and rubber.
Synthetic floors of various types are also popular – including some with a multilayer construction of 100% pure vinyl with a reinforced fibreglass grid and a closed-cell foam backing. The options are endless.
The traditional sports hall used a natural wood or parquet floor solidly fixed to a substrate but, although these are still regularly in demand, modern designs incorporate a sprung floor to provide a better playing surface and “feel” for the athletes. This also brings modern developments such as laminate and bamboo floorcovering to the fore in current projects.
In a multi-purpose hall that is used for other community activities, many other types of floorcovering can be used, including heavy-duty, flexible vinyl sheet designed to perform safely and effectively in multi-purpose indoor sports venues, and renowned for its resilience, minimum seams and ease of cleaning.
In some applications linoleum sheet or rubber and PVC tiles can be used but, in every instance where a resilient floorcovering is being considered, the specifier should liaise closely with the supplier/installer to ensure that the required end result can and will be achieved.
Epoxy coatings also provide a superb sports floor finish to existing concrete floors. The coatings are applied after diamond-grinding the concrete to accept the epoxy which can also provide the floor with a selected colour.
In wet areas such as around indoor swimming pools or shower/change room areas, ceramic or porcelain tiles are the favoured floorcovering, and these days there is a selection of surface treatments available that allow for rapid drainage and provide an anti-slip surface. Their ease of cleaning (even hosing down) means that these floors can be kept hygienically clean at all times.
From the foregoing it can be seen that the types of floorcovering available locally can meet all the needs of gymnasiums, sports halls, multi-purpose indoor arenas or assembly halls, and other sporting applications, and it is noticeable that, no matter how complex the project may be, the flooring industry rises to the occasion and meets all the requirements, every time.
For further information visit www.floorsinafrica.co.za or call 012 347 7530.